Author: Ellen Lupton

Typography specimen with white block letters appear on a black background.
The Typography of W. E. B. Du Bois
The typography in Du Bois's data visualizations was composed of simple lines for efficient transcription and has inspired contemporary designers.
Carin Goldberg (1953–2023)
Ellen Lupton reflects on the animated postmodern book and album covers by the graphic designer.
A moody black-and-white photograph shows the exterior of a Southern-style mansion with tall white columns and a porch chair. On a splotch of bright orange, the title BABY DOLL appears in letters made of yellow dots. The author’s name appears at the bottom in all caps: TENNESSEE WILLIAMS.
Tennessee Williams and the Art of the Book Cover
Alvin Lustig and Elaine Lustig Cohen designed covers for many works by Tennessee Williams that employ type and image to build an emotional setting for the text.
Side-by-side posters with oval portraits of male military personnel in uniform.
To Die For: Posters Against Homophobic Violence, 1993
The tragic murder of Allen R. Schindler inspired Marlene McCarty and Donald Moffet to take a stand against anti-gay violence through graphic design.
White paper poster advertising an art installation for social distancing using black squares in a 9 x 8 grid, each square in each row gets larger from left to right
Social Distance
The phrase “social distance” became common lingo early in the COVID-19 pandemic. To safely shop, work, or wait in line, people were advised to stay six feet (or two meters) apart. Graphic markers guided this new behavior. Solutions ranged from elaborate installations to hand-made solutions. Content from the exhibition Design and Healing: Creative Responses to...
An eye-catching poster of a cartoon-like worker holding a bin of tomatoes and the words [WORKERS FIRST] printed in bubble font repeating vertically in wavy lines filling the background.
Building Health Equity
Structural racism is a silent killer. Many conditions of daily life affect people’s health, including access to transportation, education, safe housing, nutritious food, clean air and water, and green space. Economic policies in the United States have routinely confined people of color in neighborhoods lacking these essential resources. Pandemics, from cholera in the early 1900s...
Poster which explains what Mutual Aid is and how the process works.
Mutual Aid
During the COVID-19 pandemic, mutual aid organizations around the world delivered food to neighbors in need, ran errands for housebound people, and created masks and other protective equipment. Many of these loosely organized groups relied on social media and tools like Google Docs to organize volunteers. Content from the exhibition Design and Healing: Creative Responses...
A night-time photograph of a public space with a high suspended light source which illuminates a large yellowish open circle on the paved surface below.
Light and Healing
In 1882, Robert Koch (German, 1843–1910) discovered the bacteria that causes tuberculosis. At the time, one in seven people in Europe and the United States died of tuberculosis. People living in poverty were especially vulnerable. Sunlight and fresh air were common treatments for tuberculosis until 1943, when antibiotics were proven to cure the disease. Sanatoriums,...
Paimio Sanatorium, 1929–33
To design the Paimio Sanatorium, Alvar and Aino Aalto leveraged the best science available at the time, which called for cross-ventilation and heliotherapy (exposure to sunshine) to treat and prevent tuberculosis. They considered everything from chairs and sinks to closets and beds. Sinks with angled basins were designed to minimize the sound of splashing water....